Farmworkers and Supporters Declare Civil Rights=Immigrant Rights at VT DMV Getting Brand New VT Driver's Licenses And Commemorating Legacy of MLK

***For Immediate Release*** Farmworkers and Supporters Declare Civil Rights=Immigrant Rights at VT DMV Getting Brand New VT Driver's Licenses And Commemorating Legacy of MLK Farmworkers step out of VT milking parlors onto the road Burlington and Montpelier VT-January 17, 8am-- On Friday January 17th, dozens of Vermont farmworkers and supporters stood in front of the DMV offices of Montpelier and Burlington VT, singing civil rights era songs to mark MLK weekend by celebrating a new VT law allowing access to driver's licenses regardless of immigration status. Migrant workers and their supporters then entered the DMV together to get the same new "Driver's Privilege Card". Vermont is one of several states that enacted legislation in 2013 allowing access to driver's licenses regardless of immigration status turning the post 911 anti-immigrant tide from exclusion of immigrant’s access to licenses towards inclusion. Vermont is unique from some of the other states given that immigrant community supporters are choosing to get the same new license as their farmworker neighbors as an act of solidarity. Abel Luna with Migrant Justice explains, "We are here today because as of January 2, 2014 you, your farmworker neighbors, your farmer, your immigrant brothers, and sisters--anyone can get this new license. And our farmworker neighbors are calling upon us to do just that!!! Over 100 of our allies have already pledged that they would get this "Driver's Privilege Card" in solidarity with our farmworker neighbors." "Abel Garcia, a farmworker member of Vermont based Migrant Justice who helped fight for access to driver's licenses, stood in line at the Montpelier DMV to get his new ID. He shared why they timed today's action with MLK weekend, "One of the most important things in life is to leave footprints for others to follow the way MLK did for us. Today the reality is that farmworkers in Vermont will no longer be judged by our skin color, language, or education, but rather as social activists respected for standing up for what is right and dignifying. With access to driver's licenses/ID we now feel more welcomed here as the Vermont community members that we are." Vermont farmworker Over Lopez reflected on the significance of the day for him, "There are no impossibles when communities forget their differences and come together in unity. That is the only way we have achieved rights." Glenn Taulton, reflected on his views of the day outside the Burlington DMV as an African American, “Martin Luther King's journey was to have rights for all people, no matter their color. As Christians, we sing 'red or yellow, black or white, we are precious in his [Jesus] sight'. This is why I am very proud of this achievement for my undocumented brothers and sisters working here. We, in Vermont, again, should be setting an example for the rest of the country." Avery Book, a volunteer driver with Migrant Justice is one of a dozen or so supporters at the Burlington DMV who will turn in his old license for the new card. "I'm getting the license because when an officer sees a card that they believe is only held by farmworkers, they may immediately jump to the conclusion that they are undocumented and call up Border Patrol. If instead this is a license held by farmworkers and by allies, this would not be the case. An officer would know that this is a broadly held license available to anyone living in Vermont, and that there are many people on the road using them with of a wide range of immigration and citizenship statuses." Migrant Justice builds the voice, capacity and power of the migrant farmworker community and engages community partners to organize for social and economic justice and human rights. 802-658-6770 / #######

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